President Joe Biden's press conference with Finland's President Niinistö
Thank you . Please please see it . Welcome to this joint press conference by President of the Republic of Finland , Sain and president of the United States , Joe Biden . We will begin with statements by the president . Thank you and good afternoon . Excellent that we have this kind of a big hole in the castle . Plenty of you here . First of all , Mr President , I want to thank you for visiting Finland . We have had possibilities of
meeting each other quite often during the here in and uh by the way , first time we met also in Helsinki , I was the speaker of parliament when you visited and I remember him . So we have had a lot of discussions during the last couple of years . I want to once again , thank you for the strong support you have given all the time . It's my new era in Finney's security policy has begun and it will be one of those who wrote it to history . I also want to thank you for the willingness meeting . It was
very touching to feel the unity between allies and I think it was greatly created by you . We had possibilities of discussing bilaterally today . I took up the negotiations of our defense Cooperation agreement . We are going to
continue our security discussion by that and that is of vital importance to Finland in the same time . Also , Sweden and Denmark are having similar discussions . And at the end , it seems that all the five Nordic countries will have a bilateral agreement with technology is one of the key bids for the future . There are
elements like artificial intelligence , quantum technology , sky technology , all that is leading our way to the future and we have to make sure that it's leading our way in a very secure way . And that demands responsibility of those who know how and that is why it is very important to coordinate and cooperate with our knowledge and resources for both in this sector . We also had a discussion on our neighbor and I think that we both share similar views . The war in Ukraine was also discussed . We both see that we will continue support to Ukraine which is defending not only herself but also all the values we represent in the Western world . We also
had a meeting with the Nordic family . It is a tradition which started during President Obama's time . And it has been a very valuable tool for us to get even better understand each other's security and technology . They are also discussed there and a lot of time and thoughts were presented on environmental issues . So once again , it has been great to have you here . Well , thank you , Mr President . It's been great to
be here . Look , it's an honor to be with you and our other Nordic friends . We just finished . Uh I would suggest a very productive us Nordic leaders summit on the heels of the historic NATO summit this and where Finland took its place at the table . Uh As , as our
newest ally , we've always been friends with our newest official ally of member of NATO . And I also want to thank Minister Christensen of Sweden , who will soon be joining NATO and Prime Minister Store of Norway . We've had a great relationship and Frederickson of Denmark and the minister , the daughter of Ireland , daughter of Ireland , you can tell us a Forslip , I'm thinking of home , the daughter of Iceland . And , and I want to say , I think we've had a very productive summit . We discussed Mr President where we stand at an inflection point in history where the decisions we make now are going to determine the course of the history for the next four or 56 decades . And this
week we affirmed how Finland and the United States together , together with allies and partners are working in lockstep to set us on a stronger , safer and more secure path , not just for Europe , not just for NATO , but for the world and met with 33 nations for the 1st 31 nations . For the first time , we showed the world that our alliance is more United than ever . And soon it will be 32 allies thanks to an agreement with Turkey to move Sweden's accession protocols and as capable partners and committed democracy . Both Finland and Sweden are going to add significantly to the strength , security and unanimity of NATO and with stronger NATO , it makes the entire world stronger . Mr President , as your ally , we want the people of Finland to know the United States is committed to Finland , committed to NATO and those commitments are rock solid that we defend every inch of NATO territory and that includes Finland . Obviously , second ,
over the past week , we affirmed our unwavering support for the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their country against Russia's brutal and inhumane attacks our allies and partners around the world . Understand that this fight is not only a fight for the future of Ukraine , it's about sovereignty , security and freedom itself . I want you to think about what would happen if we didn't do anything , what is likely to happen in the rest of Europe if we did nothing . So this week , NATO has
officially elevated our relationship with Ukraine . Allies also agreed to lift the membership action plan that is usually required before you could be admitted . And from Ukraine and has created a path for membership of Ukraine as it continues to make progress on the necessary democratic and security reforms required of every NATO member . We also made clear to President Zelinsky that we are not waiting for NATO membership to be finalized to commit to long term security of Ukraine . The leaders of
the G7 together issued a new joint declaration of support for Ukraine . The declaration , I was glad to see the Nordic nations immediately welcome and support it . It's going to launch a process open to any nation to negotiate bilateral security agreements with Ukraine until they are officially members of NATO . It will not only
ensure that Ukraine can defend itself today but it will deter future aggression as well with the capable force across land , air and sea from their friends . And finally , at every stop , every summit on this trip , we focus on using the power of partnership to take on the challenges that matter most to the people's lives in our countries in the United Kingdom . We brought together public private and philanthropic partners to discuss ways to unlock new of private dollars and finance to fight climate change . In Lithuania . NATO allies met in the Eu and our our Indo Pacific partners to continue advancing our work on terrorism , cyber threats , resilience and so much more . And here in Finland at our US nordic leaders summit reaffirmed our commitment to stand together power to power , clean energy transition , to preserve regional security , to promote democratic values and to pioneer the technologies of the future from quantum computing to advanced communication systems . So we
did it together Mr President at this critical moment in history , this inflection point the world is watching to see will we do the hard work that matters to forge a better future ? Will we stand together ? Will we stand with one another ? Will we stay committed to our course this week ? Finland , the United States and our allies and partners says a resounding loud . Yes . Yes , we'll step up . Yes , we'll stand together and yes , we'll keep working toward a stronger , safer and more secure world . So , Mr President , thank you again for having me here as partners , friends and allies . I look
forward to our work together in the years ahead and it's been a real pleasure getting to know you even better . Thank you . Thank you . Now , we have time for questions . Shall we start with public broadcasting service ? My question is for Mr President Biden , the political volatility of us remains a big worry for European partners . Meanwhile , back in Washington , a bipartisan group of senators has repeatedly failed to pass through Senate , a bill that would prevent the US president in the future from withdrawing from NATO without Senate's approval . What action ? What I'm sorry . I didn't hear the last part of your question . In Washington , a bipartisan group of senators has repeatedly failed to pass through Senate a law that would prevent future US presidents from withdrawing from NATO without Senate's approval . What actions will you take
to assure Finland that the US will remain a reliable NATO partner for decades to come ? I absolutely guarantee it there is no question . There's overwhelming support from the American people . There's overwhelming support from the members of the Congress , both House and Senate and both parties . Notwithstanding the fact
that there are some extreme elements of one party . We will stand together , the American people known for us since the end of World War II . And the formation of NATO that our security rests in the unanimity among European and transatlantic partner us . And so this is , you know , no one can guarantee the future , but this is the best bet anyone can make .
And my second question on that note to Mr President Nini hearing this answer that no one can guarantee a future . Are you worried that the political instability in the US will cause issues in the alliance in the future ? Let me be clear , I didn't say we didn't guarantee we couldn't the future . You can't tell me whether you're going to be able to go home tonight . No one can be sure what they're going to do . I'm saying as sure as anything could possibly be said about American foreign policy , we will stay connected to NATO connected to NATO , beginning middle and end . We're a transatlantic partnership . That's what I've said .
It seems that the president has answered your problems . But I have to tell you that during this process , I met uh approximately uh president many times , but uh I would say about 50 people from Congress and Senate and I think the message was quite clear , quite united and I have no reason to doubt about us a policies in the future . Let me say one more thing . We learned
the hard lesson , peace and security in Europe is essential to us , security and peace . The idea that there could be conflict in Europe among our friends and us not engaged has never happened in modern history . That's why we're staying together . Next question . President pardon ? I've called on somebody . I'm sorry , Wall Street Journal . Andrew .
Thank you , Mr President . You said that Ukraine shouldn't enter NATO until after the war is over . Are you concerned that all of those comments could motivate Putin to keep the war going or discourage him from entering peace negotiations ? And is there a serious risk that this war could drag on for years ? And do you see any path toward the war ending with Putin still in power ? First of all , no one can join NATO while the war a war is going on where a NATO nation is being attacked ? Because that guarantees that we're in a war and we're in a third world war . So that is
not about whether or not they should or shouldn't join . It's about when they can join and they will join NATO . The issue of whether or not this is going to keep Putin from continuing to fight . The answer is Putin has already
lost the war . Putin has a real problem . How does he move from here , what does he do ? And so the idea that there's going to be what vehicle is used , he could end the war tomorrow . He could just say I'm out . But what agreement is ultimately reached depends upon Putin and what he decides to do . But there is no possibility of him winning the war in Ukraine . He's already lost that war . Imagine if , even if he's
already lost that war , just on the question of a concern about going on for years , is there a possibility that there's a stalemate in the question of whether the war could go on for years ? Is there a possibility ? There's a stalemate and can continue for quite some time ? Well , I don't think the war can go on for years for two reasons . Number one , I don't think that they Russians could , could maintain the war forever . Number one , in terms of their resources and capacity . Number two , I think that
there is going to be a circumstance where eventually President Putin is going to decide it's not in the interest of Russia economically , politically or otherwise to continue this war . But I can't predict exactly how that happens . My hope is and my expectation is you'll see that Ukraine makes significant progress on their offensive and that it generates a negotiated settlement somewhere along the line . And I have a question for the Finnish president , but I would re remiss if I didn't raise my colleague , Evan Garko who's been in prison for more than 100 days . And I just wondered if you had an update on the process for trying to get him out of prison . And if you're serious about a prisoner exchange , I'm serious about prisoner exchange . I'm serious about
doing all we can to free Americans from being illegally held in Russia or anywhere else for that matter . And that process is underway , not necessary . Um , uh , do you think there is the possibility of the US having a permanent ? Like I told , we are discussing on ec a the Cooperation Agreement and it has a lot of elements , they are still open , but we are open on negotiations and I know that uh our counterpart also very open . So let us see . Next question goes to President Nita . Uh Yes . Uh it's uh an thank you Mr President . And my
question is for Mr President Biden or should I just say President Biden , you have repeatedly talked about finlandization becoming NATO of Finland now , based on what you have repeatedly talked about finlandization becoming NATO of Finland . Based on your long experience , how does that change Finland's place in the world ? Well , first of all the context in which I said , that was gentleman who occupies a seat on the other side of the border in Moscow said he wanted , I said he wanted the of NATO . I said it was more likely get the NATO of Finland . That's what , that's the context in which that was said . And what was the second part of your question ? I asked , how has Finland's position in the world changed during this NATO membership process is already a strong , vibrant nation ? I think what Finland is joining NATO does in Sweden as well . When the Nordic countries are
all members of NATO just makes the world safer . Significantly increases the prospect that there is less likely to be war . We're deadly earnest about the notion we defend every single inch of NATO territory and now we're on a way of getting to 32 NATO nations . That's a significant commitment . And so the likelihood of any nation voluntarily deciding they're going to attack one of the nations or Finland is highly unlikely . But if it were to , they understand they're not just attacking Finland , they're attacking 31 other countries .
Next question , President Biden , please . Oh , I'm sorry , I guess it's uh Arlette from CNN . Thank you , Mr President . We've seen more disarray with Russian generals most recently with the firing of a general who criticized the Defense ministry this following that rebellion by Prego . Does this raise any new concerns about Putin potentially doing more drastic things regarding Ukraine , like nuclear weapons or potentially against the US ? Like election interference ? First of all , they already interfered in the American elections . So that would not be any new they did that last time they tried to . But with regard to , I don't
think there's any real prospect . You never know of Putin using nuclear weapons . Not only has the West but China and the rest of the world have said that . Don't go there , don't go
there . Number two , number three , I think that determining what happens to Pergo , what happens to Villus . I mean , excuse me , what happens when we discuss this in Vilnius is God only knows what he's likely to do . I'm not even sure , we're not even sure where he is and what relationship he has . If I were here , I'd be careful what I ate . I'd
be keeping my eye on my menu . But I can you decide ? Who knows ? I don't know . I don't think any of us know for certain what the future of Forgo is in Russia . And so I don't know how to answer that question beyond that . And
if I could also ask you something about happening back home , you're seeing the GOP grappling with tying abortion rights to defense issues , including a block on military promotions by Senator Tuberville . What does this say about us ? Military read readiness ? And would you be willing to talk with Tuberville to try to work out some solution ? I'd be willing to talk to him if I thought there's any possibility that he was changing his ridiculous position . He's jeopardizing us security by what he's doing . I expect the Republican party to stand up , stand up and do something about it .
They've in their power to do that . The idea that we don't have a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff . The idea that we have all these , all these promotions that are in obey right now that we don't know what's going to happen . The idea that we're injecting into fundamental foreign policy decisions . What in fact , as a domestic social debate on social issues is bizarre . I don't ever recall that
happening ever . And it's just totally irresponsible in my view . And I just think that , I mean , I'm confident that the mainstream Republican Party no longer does not support what he's doing , but they got to stand up and be counted . That's how it ends .
And for President NATO , you've been working on fortifying the fence along the border between Finland and Russia , is there anything that you're seeing recently that concerns you ? And also as a leader who shares a border with Russia , what more do you want to see done to deter Putin during the beginning of our application process ? Surely we had to make sure first trying to figure out every possible negative action we might need and surely how we response on that and we were very careful on that work . So at the moment , the situation is quite calm . I hope it remains as such . But I just want to tell you that Finnish people do feel more secure . At the moment , we have 80% of population supporting NATO membership and more than 80% who say that we will also protect our allies . That's the Finnish position .
Thank you . This concludes the press conference . Thank you very much .